Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mr. Corbin Courts Nannie

The following is from Leaves From an Old Washington Diary, 1854-1863 by Elizabeth Lindsay Lomax, first published in 1943, edited by Lindsay Lomax Wood.

Friday, February 29, 1856
. . . Mr. Corbin is on a courting expedition and seems a trifle nervous -- He is very attentive to Nannie Maury, but as yet no one knows if she smiles upon his suit or not -- I imagine he is uncertain of his own fate.

Elizabeth Lindsay Lomax was a widow living on G Street near Lafayette Square in Washington DC when she wrote these lines in 1856. She had several unmarried daughters at home, and so she was in the loop on the events in their circles of friends.

The "Mr. Corbin" referred to is probably Spotswood Wellford Corbin. Nannie Maury is Betty Herndon Maury's younger sister Diana. Diana was most likely living at the Naval Observatory in Washington at this time where her father, Matthew Fontaine Maury, was its first director. Diana/Nannie does eventually accept Mr. Corbin's proposal and they were married on April 28, 1858. Their home near Fredericksburg, Virginia, known as Farley Vale, is mentioned frequently in Betty's diary, as is, of course, Diana/Nannie.

Friday, January 7, 2011

William Maury's actions during the war

I have found more information about the actions of Betty Herndon Maury's husband, William Arden Maury, during the opening months of the American Civil War. He was involved in procuring land patents and certificates for land patents, as revealed by seizure of contraband mail by the U.S. Government in December 1861. See The War of the Rebellion, Series II Volume II, page 1309. This link will take you to page 1307; Will is mentioned on page 1309.

Note that the text of The War of the Rebellion text is unclear about the relationship of Rutson Maury to Betty's father - or to her husband. The Rutson Maury who was arrested for mail and document smuggling in November 1861 was most likely the Rutson Maury born in 1835. His brother, another Matthew Fontaine Maury, born in 1834, was also arrested and imprisoned for mail and document smuggling. On November 24, 1861 Betty reports the arrest of "Fontaine Maury, Nannie's old sweetheart . . ."

From Betty's diary it appears that Will was not sharing with her much about what he was doing.